LOOK: Igloo-themed hotel set to open at North Pole, and it's going to cost you R1.4m
Washington - It's a travel experience so unique, it only takes place one month every year - but for who knows how long.
A Finnish luxury travel company is set to open a movable hotel at the North Pole that offers a rare and eco-conscious experience for the adventurous traveller who can swing the roughly $100 000 (about R1.4 million) price tag for up to five nights' stay. The North Pole Igloos are slated to welcome its first guests in 2020 and will operate yearly every April.
The once-in-a-lifetime experience is the brainchild of Janne Honkanen, founder and shief executive of Luxury Action, a high-end travel company specialising in arctic excursions. Honkanen said guests at the company's luxury wilderness lodge in the Finnish Lapland region were increasingly interested in knowing more about nature in the Arctic, which prompted the creation of the North Pole experience.
"I thought that this is the time and the opportunity to give a chance for my guests to experience the North Pole with arctic explorers and scientists in a safe way," Honkanen wrote.
Guests at the North Pole Igloos will stay in one of 10 heated, glass-walled igloos at night, where they can gaze at the stars, and probably the Northern Lights, through glass ceilings. During the day, travelers will sight-see around a glacier, meet indigenous people who live in the polar regions and arctic scientists working nearby, and hopefully catch sightings of seals, polar bears, arctic birds and other wildlife, Honkanen said.
Ted Scambos, a senior research scientist with the Earth Science and Observation Center at the University of Colorado, Boulder, said travellers in April can expect "dim and twilight-y" daylight hours in the North Pole, where the sun is very low in the sky and temperatures range from -20ºC to -40ºC.
"It's not for the fainthearted," Scambos said.
He noted that the experience is limited to the month of April before the North Pole's most "hard core" weather, but before the summer melt sets in. The three- to five-night excursion (depending on weather) begins in Svalbard, a group of Norwegian islands in the Arctic Ocean, with only one night spent at the North Pole itself.
"In April it's really safe and nice to travel; (otherwise) we're speaking about extreme conditions," Honkanen said. The complex conditions, remoteness and short window for viable travel make the pole "the most exclusive travel destination on the planet".
He compared the scenery from the North Pole's frozen ice floe in the middle of the Arctic as one most people only see from the sky: "It's like looking out an airplane window and floating on the clouds with the baby blue sky around you."
The package includes air travel from the Lapland region to the North Pole, a camp manager, arctic wilderness guide, chef services, security and even thermal clothing.The Washington Post